Friday, June 3, 2011


8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel
Being on vacation has its benefits but the downside is that I wasn't able to paint for a while, it was nice going back home and relaxing it lets me clear my head and come back with a fresh slate.  I cannot believe its been a week since I last painted I don't like that I had to do that, since coming back from vacation I've just been so busy with everything and finally had time today to paint again.  It feels so great to paint again it just puts all your worries away and I just dive into my painting not thinking of anything else, its pretty therapeutic.  I always say to myself after not painting for a while how I can go so long, I seriously go through withdraws.  What can I say I'm addicted to painting!
Peonies are intimidating to me their pedals are so complicated to paint and there's not a set way to paint them.  To say that I went out of my comfort zone again is an understatement, especially being the first painting back from not painting for a while.  Usually I like to paint a couple pictures before I dive into something so complicated like this, but today I just decided to go at it.  Peonies are just so beautiful in their subtle colors and how each pedal has so much character to it.  Other than being intimidated to paint the pedals I was also excited because I can be so gestural with the paints, usually I'm not able to do that but with this painting I went to town with it.  The subtle colors and gestural strokes made it so much fun to paint, I'm really happy with this painting and how it came out I hope you can see how much fun I had with the process photos.  Now time to get back to the grinding wheel and start painting more again!    
I started with the usual dry brush approach using no mediums and just a bit of raw umber on the brush for the drawing stage.  I kept the drawing pretty simple didn't want to get to detailed since these flowers are pretty complicated with each fold.  After the drawing is complete I went in and added the general colors of the peonies, not worried about details at this stage just the statement of color and how it wraps around the form.  I also do not add the darkest and lightest values, I wait to do that in their separate stages.  
I start on the first two peonies working them at the same time, I only paint the middle to darker values.  When that stage is close to completion I start on the lighter values and highlights, this stage was so much fun.  Since each pedal has a gestural look to them I decided to treat them in that manner, I went very gestural with each stroke I didn't wanna make it to abstract just enough to give the sense of movement.  When filling in the lighter values I bounce back to the darker values and adjust the intensity if need be, usually it does.
Once they are done I move onto the next two starting with the middle to darker values, I wish I can say my approach to painting peonies is the same as my other paintings, it's not.  There are some similarities but peonies are so complicated with each pedal, they are so mushed in together its hard to just render each pedal one at a time.  When adding the lighter values and highlights I also go back to the darks and adjust their intensity, and also go back to the lighter values and do the same.  When adding the lighter values I notice I need to add the darker values around the peonies which are the leaves, they frame the peonies and give them their shape which is important so I can take it to a finish.  I keep working on the peonies for a while bouncing back and forth from darker to lighter values, I'm also getting thicker with the strokes in the lights.   As stated before I'm being more gestural with the strokes to indicate movement and texture, I can not lie it was so much painting like this I was able to be gestural than usual.
Then I filled in the background after finishing the peonies, stating the background now is important so I can address the edges and push certain areas further away.  When stating the background I also fill in the  stems and clear vase, once that was complete I go back into the leaves and take them to a finish by adding more chroma and lighter values in certain areas.  This painting was a lot of fun all the way till the finish, playing with textures and movement of the paint was a neat thing to do.  I'm looking to implore more of that in the future with my paintings.  I hope you guys had a lot of fun with this one, thanks for stopping by and viewing! 

1 comment:

Jesus Estevez said...

Beautiful flowers Jonathan, some time is good to disconnect, It clear your brain, an every thing comes nicer. Un saludo